Spring days and nights provide a perfect environment for spending quality time entertaining and enjoying fresh air on your deck with friends and family. But before this happens, you need to prepare your deck for the spring and summer season. Your deck may need some TLC to get it ready for the parties, relatives and relaxation it has ahead!
Use These Tips to Prepare your Deck for Spring
The type of prep and maintenance you need to do to give your deck a new lease of life will depend on a few things:
- What is your deck made of and what is its current condition?
- Does it already have a coating?
- What finished look do you want to achieve? Oil, stain, paint? Does it need resealing?
It’s always a good idea to clear your deck and have a good look over the entire space so you can make a clear assessment of its current condition and what you may need to do.
If your deck is bare timber
Maybe your deck is bare timber, and it’s likely to have turned a softer grey or silver colour. Check over the timber to see it’s in good condition and if so, it will be ready to clean. Start with a good sweep to remove any leaves, surface debris and dirt. Then give it a light wash with a pressure hose to remove any residual dirt and weathered wood fibres. It’s now ready to clean with a deck-cleaning product such as CutekTM ProClean, which will remove any remaining contaminants like mould and naturally occurring tannins from new timber.
If the timber is badly weathered – sanding your deck back to a solid, flat surface before cleaning will give you the best-finished results. Remember, if your deck is nailed down, you will need to punch-in your nails before sanding to ensure a smooth finish.
If your deck is oiled or stained timber
Before any new oil or stain coating can be applied, the timber deck must be able to accept the new finish. A simple yet effective way to test if it is ready to accept a new coat of oil or stain is to drip water on the deck surface and see if it penetrates the timber. If it does, it’s ready to coat with your choice of deck finish. If water beads on the surface, however, the deck will need to have the old finish removed first, through sanding and / or stripping.
If your deck is painted timber
If it’s a simple freshening up of your existing paintwork, then the usual paint preparation and application process applies. If a change of finish and look is what you are going for then all the old paint will need to be removed by sanding or stripping so the new finish will properly adhere to the decking timber.
This can be a bit of a longer process, so it’s important you give yourself enough time to prepare your deck for spring and summer.
If your deck is a composite deck
Composite decks such as ModWood, are made with composite lumber (a mixture of wood fibre, plastic and a binding agent) and have become increasingly popular in recent years as they look and feel like natural timber but are lower maintenance than traditional timber decks.
Generally, a simple sweep of the deck will clean and prevent any build-up of dirt and debris. Cleaning can also be as simple as a good wash with warm water and Sugar Soap or similar.
If you have a fibre cement deck
Fibre cement decks, like HardieDeckTM, are easy to clean with a soft-bristle broom and warm, mild soapy water. You will know it’s time to reseal it if water starts soaking into your decking boards after rain. If it is time to reseal, let the deck dry well (approx., 48hrs) and remove any areas of loose coating by lightly sanding.
Another tip is to vacuum your deck just prior to applying your first coat of sealer, that way any dust or dirt that may have settled it will be removed.
The final finish
choices of finish will again depend on the type of deck you have and comes down
- Clear sealer
Oil – For those with a timber
deck, oil or stain are popular choices. Oil is used on hardwood decking, as it
penetrates the timber, preventing weathering, preserving deck colour, reducing
water and UV damage. A product such as CutekTM Wood Preservative helps
the timber to resist damage caused by fungal decay, mould and termites. It also
provides protection against moisture which helps minimise warping, cupping and
Tinted oils and oil tinting products are available too. For example – CutekTM Colour tones come in 10 different shades and can be added to other CutekTM products, like the CutekTM Wood Preservative. The CutekTM Colour tones are designed to match your type of timber decking as well as deepening the colour. When combined, your deck will look good and last longer.
Stain – Stains allow you to change the colour of your deck by deepening the shade while letting the grain show through. They also offer protection for your timber deck. H&G carries a range of timber colours for you to choose from.
For those with composite decking, one of the benefits is that applying a protective coating is not essential, as it is for other timber decks. However, as it is a timber product, you can apply an oil-based stain if preferred.
Paint – Provides a huge range of colour choice! With paint you can match to your home’s colour scheme or make a bolder personal statement – the choice is yours. There are also paints specifically for decking available, which are weather/wear and tear-resistant and better suited to the purpose than standard exterior paints.
Sealer – For those with a fibre cement deck that have top strips, these will need to be removed or taped over before applying sealer. A primer may also need to be applied in those areas that required sanding before applying your preferred sealer.
H&G’s range of decking products, from the decking materials they are made of through to the finishes available, is second to none! Talk to your local H&G specialist about your deck project today they will be able to help you prepare your deck for spring!